Best regions of Turkey for Expat Living
Expats choosing Turkey as their new home are making a wise decision. The last 15 years has seen a dramatic increase in standards of living and of course, the climate is a big lure. The biggest question expats have to consider is where to settle in Turkey.
Covering more than 770,000 square miles, the diversity of culture, traditions, landscapes and even the weather varies greatly from the east to the west. Turkey cannot be described or stereotyped in one sentence, so when purchasing property in Turkey, it is important to do your research first, to decide whether you'll focus on villas in Fethiye or apartments in Istanbul.
Geographical Areas on the Map
Officially, Turkey is separated into seven main regions
Marmara: Covering the Northwest of the country, this area connects Turkey with Europe via the bustling region of Edirne. Its most well known centre is Istanbul, Turkey's largest city, that fascinating old-meets-new bridge between Europe and Asia. Marmara also includes Bursa, the former capital of the Ottoman Empire that is a city overflowing with historical landmarks. The Marmara region also boasts some of the most incredible sailing routes to be found anywhere in the country, including Yalova Turkey, an area of astonishing natural beauty.
Black Sea: Consisting of regions that cover the Northwest coastline, the climate of the Black sea is not as warm as other areas but this gives it a distinct advantage for agriculture. Locals rely heavily on the richness of the land for produce and the large city of Rize is the tea producing capital of Turkey. Head further west to find the Laz and Hemsin communities of which their backgrounds stem from Georgian and Armenian heritage.
Central Anatolia: Settling over the centre of the country, this region is famous for production of wheat and barley. It also includes the tourism stronghold of Cappadocia and Ankara, the capital of Turkey. From summer to winter, the weather changes are extreme, from a dry and hot summer to winters with snowfall and strong winds.
Eastern Anatolia: Mostly known for its rural lifestyle, this area is the least populated in Turkey. Bordered by Armenian, Azerbaijan, Iraq and Iran, it is greatly steeped in history but unfortunately, tourism in the area is relatively unknown and the USA and UK governments define certain areas like Hakkari as dangerous for foreigner travellers.
South-eastern Anatolia: The Southeast is the edge of ancient Mesopotamia and includes marvellous ancient cities such as Urfa and Mardin. Kurdish or Arabic is spoken frequently but due to problems in Syria, foreign governments have warned their citizens to avoid travelling to the area.
Aegean: Covering the entire west coast, this area is mainly of flat landscapes making it ideal for olive oil production. Tourism is also a major source of income thanks to the mass of historical sites which include the Seven Churches of Revelation as mentioned in the Bible. Although rural villages still exist, places like the Bodrum Peninsula as classed as typically cosmopolitan because of their western trends combined with old cultures and traditions.
Mediterranean: Consisting of the southwest coastline, after Istanbul this region is the most popular for tourism. Well known for its fruit agriculture and UNESCO world heritage sites like Xanthos and Letoon, strongholds regions include Antalya and Fethiye and visitor nationalities vary because it is popular with Russians, Germans, Brits and for domestic tourism.
Which Areas are most popular for House Sales to Foreigners?
According to official government statistics, 118,784 foreigners owned Turkish property at the end of 2014. The statistics do not reveal the nationality of foreigners, or whether the properties were purchased as holiday investment homes or for permanent living, but four areas in particular continued to make the list every time. In total, by the end of 2014 foreigners owned 118,784 properties in Turkey - a remarkable jump from the 50,000 or so a decade ago.
Antalya: This is currently the most popular areas for foreign property purchases - although it will probably soon be overtaken by Istanbul. In 2014, 6542 properties were sold to foreigners. Antalya property is popular with not only expats, but Turks as the city's strong local economy continues to grow. It's become a thriving centre for agriculture, finance and tourism and is well and truly a year-round destination. Its airport is one of the busiest in the northern hemisphere, serving Europe and the Middle East. As a province it includes the popular coastal resorts of Kemer, Belek, Side, and the main city centre as well as beach hotspot Konyaalti. Each of these hubs are popular tourist spots as well as year-round locations for expat life.
Read more about Antalya:
Istanbul: This area closely followed Antalya for property purchases by foreigners, with 5580 homes purchased by foreigners in 2014. This number is growing each year as Istanbul finds greater international fame as a centre for investment. Covering a large area including coastal resorts and urban neighbourhoods, there is a bountiful amount of property in Istanbul to choose from. Life in Istanbul is of course different from a sunny escape in Bodrum or Fethiye - it's a huge cosmopolitan centre offering all the highs and lows of city living.
Read more about Istanbul:
- A beginner's guide to investing in Istanbul
- 18 awesome things to do with kids in Istanbul
- an ABC of Istanbul's districts
- Beyoglu: the new city of Istanbul
Aydin: This province is particularly popular with British expats who tend to purchase in the regions of Kusadasi and Didim. English is widely spoken and in both resorts, life carries on as normal throughout the non-touristic season. Expats groups have been formed and those who prefer the quieter life often choose places such as the working town of Selcuk. Prices of property in places like Didim are generally cheaper which may contribute towards its popularity.
Mugla: This large region encompasses the touristic hotspots of Bodrum, Marmaris, Fethiye, and Datca, the Mugla province, also relies on tourism income, so English is widely spoken and foreigners love to buy property here. Served by the main Dalaman airport, all year-round living is possible, thanks to the winters that are not harsh, when compared to other areas of Turkey.
Read more about Mugla:
- Exploring expat life in Fethiye
- Exploring expat life in Bodrum
- The pros and cons of moving to Fethiye with a family
- Why celebrities are flocking to Bodrum
- Is Bodrum Town a good place to buy property?
- 6 excellent reasons to buy property in Gumusluk
- Why Yalikavak is ideal for property investment
As well as the above areas, small expat communities exist in places like Cappadocia and Ankara. At the moment, purchasing in the East of the country would be considered a poor investment, not to mention dangerous.
In the East and the Black sea, property sales to foreigners are unheard of mainly due to cultural traditions where three or more generations of families will still live in the same house. For a wise property investment and a comfortable expat lifestyle, Istanbul, the Aegean and Mediterranean coasts cannot be beaten.